Barcelona was in Saudi Arabia tonight for a semi-final Spanish Super Copa match against Atletico Madrid. The first half of the match was very stagnant and sluggish. Both teams had chances to score but neither really posed a threat. It was not until the second half of the match that we began to see excitement. Twenty seconds into the second half and with his first touch of the match, Koke put Atletico ahead 1-0. Barcelona failed to come out of the break with the same intensity as Atletico and were punished. From that point on you would think Atletico would carry its momentum and continue applying pressure, but it was the exact opposite that happened.
The little magician took matters into his own hands. Only five minutes after the opening goal, Messi split through Atletico’s defense. Then he slotted the ball past Oblak with his weaker right foot. The magic did not stop there. Messi then controlled a ball from the air, took a touch to setup his preferred left foot and passed the ball into the Atletico net, only for VAR to rule out the goal due to the ball touching Messi’s arm on the control. Barcelona carried this momentum throughout the second half.
In the 61st minute, Jordi Alba produced a beautiful cross, and Luis Suarez headed towards goal. But was eventually blocked by Oblak, only for the ex-Atletico man, Griezmann to head it in off the line. Another perfectly weighted pass from Messi found Vidal on the side of the box. He squared to Pique for a tap in goal, but VAR once again intervened. It called the goal back due to Vidal’s shoulder leaning in the offside position.
Things escalated quickly
Atletico then took advantage and won a penalty and Morata scored to even the match at 2-2. Moments after, Barcelona’s defense fell asleep and let Correa slip in behind them as he finished his chance to make it 3-2 in the last minutes of the match. Barcelona fell 3-2 and are heading back to Spain.
Overall, it was a better performance from Barcelona and definitely one to build on heading into the second half of the season. I truly believe it was beneficial for Barcelona to be lose this competition. It gives Barcelona more time to rest and focus on important matches in the upcoming months. This competition is a complete joke and goes to prove that the La Liga board members only care about money and not the players.
The cup used to be played before the regular season begins but La Liga officials felt it was “beneficial” for the players to move it to January and move it to Saudi Arabia. On top of that they decided to add two teams that did not win any silverware last season, merely for ratings and ticket sales. Of course Barcelona want to win every competition they compete in, but I believe this is a blessing in disguise for the blaugrana.
This is the Super Copa postmatch post by Adrian Navarro. Any thoughts about the match? Write them in the comment section below.